Southern Brew News April/May 2010 : Page 1
Hometown Brewmaster ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM By Jacob Johnston eer is older than recorded history. In fact, it has been posited that it was beer and not bread that led prehistoric man to give up the nomadic lifestyle for one of farming and permanent housing. The Internet is just the opposite. It’s still a relatively new tech- nology. This writer may have been born after the advent of , but it really wasn’ that the Internet grew up into a place that most of us used on a regular basis. Of course the Internet has a voracious appetite and it takes in all aspects of human life and amplifi es them. Sometimes this amplifi cation is for the worst (trolls, urban legends) and sometimes it makes something that was already good even better. One of those aspects of human existence that’s been improved by the Internet just may be beer. Most of us already know about the major sites like Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com. These See Web p.3 Tasting Notes ....................... 6 Homebrew News ................. 8 Style Section ........................9 Beer Wench's Kitchen ........ 10 Dr. Brewski ........................ 11 State by State News Tennessee ........16 Alabama/Mississippi ....17 Georgia ..........18 The Carolinas .......20 Florida ...........22 CANNON BREW ATTITUDE. Hank Standridge, Cannon brewer, enjoys a pint of his Sledgehammer IPA at the Cannon Brewpub in Columbus, GA. Story and Phot os by Owen Ogletree Hank Standridge’s knees shook as he waited outside the offi ce doors of the mayor of Co- lumbus, Georgia back on February 3, 2009. Summoned to City Hall with no explana- tion, Cannon Brewpub’s brewer thought he might be in some kind of trouble. Were all his beer taxes paid? Had he forgotten some kind of license? Was the city bringing back Prohibition? Dread fi lled his heart. When Mayor Jim Wetherington appeared, shook Standridge’s hand and produced a plaque proclaiming the day as “Hank Standridge Day,” the young brewer almost passed out. This completely unexpected honor resulted from Standridge’s gradu- ation from Chicago’s Siebel Institute International Diploma in Brewing Technology program, along with Stan- dridge’s desire to stay in his hometown of Columbus, allowing the city’s only brewery to benefi t from his new depth of brewing knowledge. Aportion of the Mayor’s proclamation reads, “Standridge’s return to brew in Columbus after the Siebel course reflects his dedication to the founda- tion of industry on the banks of the city that has given him this remarkable opportunity. He exempli- fi es the intelligence, in- tegrity and vision of the future of the industry in Columbus and the state of Georgia.” Columbus Georgia’s Cannon Brewpub forms a social hub in the heart of historic downtown. After serving as chief bottle washer for his dad’s early home- brewing experiments, Standridge gained his See Hometown p.4
Vicarious Pleasures Beer On The Web
Beer is older than recorded history. In fact, it has been posited that it was beer and not bread that led prehistoric man to give up the nomadic lifestyle for one of farming and permanent housing. The Internet is just the opposite.
It’s still a relatively new technology.
This writer may have been born after the advent of ARPANET, but it really wasn’t until the ‘90s that the Internet grew up into a place that most of us used on a regular basis.
Of course the Internet has a voracious appetite and it takes in all aspects of human life and amplifi es them. Sometimes this amplifi cation is for the worst (trolls, urban legends) and sometimes it makes something that was already good even better. One of those aspects of human existence that’s been improved by the Internet just may be beer.
Most of us already know about the major sites like Ratebeer.com and BeerAdvocate.com. These Sites are incredible resources for even relatively technology-naïve beer geeks to fi nd out information about beer, breweries, bars, and brewing industry news. Given the large numbers populating these online communities, they make a great place for afi cionados to meet and fi nd those who remind us that we’re not the only ones obsessing over that latest one-off release from that hot new brewery.
This article isn’t really about those two venerable sites, though. This article is about the paths less traveled. It’s about those sites that you may not have heard about, but your life would be much better if you had. Well, depending on your perspective, maybe your life would be better without some of them.
I’ll start off with The Beer Mapping Project (http://beermapping.com). This site is an incredible resource for travelers looking for the closest place for a good beer. Using Google Maps technology, this site provides a comprehensive map of all sorts of beery locations all over the United States and many international cities. I’ve found the mobile version of the site quite handy when I’m on the road and looking for beer with my smart phone.
Twitter and Facebook seem to be taking over from the old e-mail lists as the preferred way for breweries and beer bars to keep in touch with their customers. So many beer businesses make use of these technologies that listing them here would be a waste of time.
Instead of our listing them for you, just go search those sites for your favorite brewery, bar, or store. You may be surprised how many of them are connected to that “series of tubes,” to quote a former US senator from Alaska.
Of course those platforms for supershort comments aren’t the only places to Fi nd the latest information about the local, regional, national, and international brewing scenes. Again, there are so many of these blogs and homepages out there that they’re diffi cult to keep up with. Still, many cities with a decent beer scene are going to have at least one blog dedicated to beer in the area.
Beer City USA has the Asheville Beer Blog (http://ashevillebeer.blogspot.com/). Nashville has the Nashville Beer Geek (http:// nashvillebeergeek.blogspot.com/). If you’re interested in keeping up with the beer scene in Georgia, you’re better off checking out Decatur Beer & Beyond (http://decaturbeer.
Blogspot.com/). Keeping up with all these blogs can be diffi cult, though. Most of them don’t update every day or even on a consistent basis. To help make sure I don’t miss out on anything, I’ve added the RSS feed for each of these blogs to my Google Reader page. When the authors of these pages (and several others I follow) post something new, I get notifi cations all in one place. Most blogs are going to have a link for an RSS feed or to subscribe to the page which will make doing this fairly easy.
If fi nding your own sites to follow is too diffi cult, there’s always the really simple BEER syndication site (http://beerinator.
Com/beerfeeds2/). This site has gone to the hard work of fi nding a ton of beer-themed sites and, using the RSS feeds for those sites, brings a world of information onto one page. This is a busy place, though. If you aren’t willing to put forth the effort to keep up with the constant fl ow of information, you may begin to feel a little overwhelmed.
Those with beer-related obsessive compulsive disorder may want to avoid this site Unless you’re willing to risk divorce, malnutrition, and death.
Speaking of those with OCD regarding beer, Beermenus.com keeps track of the tap lists of a very large range of beer bars in New York City. This impresses me. A few years ago I tried to keep an updated list of the tap offerings at only the brewpubs in Georgia. I think that lasted a couple of months before I gave up. This site impresses me.
These sites are getting too serious. How about a collection of beer humor scoured from around the globe instead? Hail the Ale is a legitimate beer blog, but check out the page of posts tagged Beer Humor if you want a chuckle. (http://hailtheale.com/category/ beer-humor/) Looking for a challenge? The Quest for the Holy Grain (http://www.beerquest1k. com/) challenges you to drink 1,000 different beers, and none of those sissy samplers or half pints either.
How about those of you who don’t like to read? (How did you manage to get this far into the article?) Part of the magic of technology is that you don’t have to take your words in print form. There are many podcasts out there that you can download and listen to on your own time. What better motivation for a long run than an mp3 player pumping homebrewing tips into your ear?
A tough commute can only be made better when listening to the latest craft beer news.
A few options to start your multimedia beer experience are Basic Brewing Radio (http://www.basicbrewing.com/), The Brewing Network (http://www.thebrewingnetwork. com/), Craft Beer Radio (http://www.
Craftbeerradio.com/), and The Beer Guy (http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs. dll/section?Category=PODCASTS02).
Eventually, even reading or listening about beer is going to get old. At some point you’re going to want to be able to get something to drink. Surfi ng the ‘net is thirsty work, after all, and they haven’t perfected the virtual tap technology yet. The good news is, depending on your state, you can actually order beer over the net. You may not have realized this, but many states, even here in the South where state governments are often suspicious of anything alcoholic, allow stores to ship beer to your doorstep.
Of course, you’re going to spend more than you would at the corner beer store because of shipping, but how else are you going to get that latest offering from some West Coast brewery that doesn’t even distribute outside of its own state, much less into the Southeast? A couple of good sites include Vintage Cellar (http://www.vintagecellar. com/) out of Blacksburg, VA, Binny’s Beverage Depot (http://www.binnys.com/), and, for those Belgian specialties, BelgianShop (http://shop.belgianshop.com/). In the end, there is no way that this article can claim to be a comprehensive look at beer on the web. The subject is far too large. Consider each of the recommendations here to be a jumping off point for your surfi ng. After all, one of the best things about the Internet, and craft beer, is the overwhelming variety it offers. Just don’t forget to have a real beer along the way.
Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Vicarious+Pleasures+Beer+On+The+Web/362726/35448/article.html.
Hometown Brew Master
Hank Standridge’s knees shook as he waited outside the offi ce doors of the mayor of Columbus, Georgia back on February 3, 2009.
Summoned to City Hall with no explanation, Cannon Brewpub’s brewer thought he might be in some kind of trouble. Were all his beer taxes paid?
Had he forgotten some kind of license? Was the city bringing back Prohibition? Dread fi lled his heart.
When Mayor Jim Wetherington appeared, shook Standridge’s hand and produced a plaque proclaiming the day as “Hank Standridge Day,” the young brewer almost passed out. This completely unexpected honor resulted from Standridge’s graduation from Chicago’s Siebel Institute International Diploma in Brewing Technology program, along with Standridge’s desire to stay in his hometown of Columbus, allowing the city’s only brewery to benefi t from his new depth of brewing knowledge.
A portion of the Mayor’s proclamation reads, “Standridge’s return to brew in Columbus after the Siebel course refl ects his dedication to the foundation of industry on the banks of the city that has given him this remarkable opportunity. He exemplifi es the intelligence, integrity and vision of the future of the industry in Columbus and the state of Georgia.” After serving as chief bottle washer for his dad’s early homebrewing experiments, Standridge gained his Own brewing inspiration from a special homebrew edition of Mother Earth News. After working at Cannon Brewpub for free in the early 2000s, then later working for beer, Standridge fi nally got the head brewer position in 2003. Standridge even brought in some of his homebrews as part of the interview.
When discussing why Cannon continues to thrive and remain an integral part of the historic downtown Columbus scene, Standridge replies, “Cannon brings good beer to the city. Columbus sits on the frontier of the craft beer revolution, and it takes a lot of effort and educating to introduce craft beer to the people here and get them excited and interested. I think we’ve done well so far.” Nearby Fort Benning also brings in soldiers from all over the U.S. - including the West Coast.
“Cannon is a beer oasis to these guys,” says Standridge.
“They can get a really hoppy IPA here!” Cannon also names beers after Fort Benning groups - Sledgehammer Imperial Pale Ale takes its moniker from the nickname of the Third Brigade / Third Infantry division of Fort Benning. “The brass at Fort Benning loves to show off the brewpub and bring in military groups - Cannon is one of their favorite spots in the city,” Standridge adds.
Standridge saw an obvious change in Columbus beer palates as early as two years ago.
“Craft beer just caught on everywhere - even in Columbus,” he remarks. “It used to take me 45 days to sell a tank of IPA, now we’re down to only 30 days - that’s about 220 gallons in a month. Our customers have warmed up to hops, but my Coffee Porter is still about 50/50 - people either love it or hate it. I don’t have a problem with that - it allows people to think about beer, explore and form their own opinions.” Cannon’s brewery houses an eight-barrel Specifi c Mechanical system with open top fermenters
- there’s not an airlock in the place until beer hits the brite tanks. The brewhouse came from the old Texas Cattle Company brewpub in Macon. Standridge notes, “Our brewhouse is like the old Düsseldorf altbier systems I saw during my Siebel course in Germany - very low tech, old-world and labor intensive. I sparge and move beers using gravity, and our pre-ground grain is chain-hoisted up to the brewhouse. I stir it all in by hand, rake it out by hand and take the spent grain out the back door. With 500 lb. Grainbills, that’s a labor of love.” Twenty different recipes or so have been produced over the years in the Cannon brewhouse, and the brewpub celebrated their 500th batch in 2009. Standridge’s wildest creation premiered in 2008 as a golden ale with caffeine extract. “Being a light colored ale, this beer satisfi ed people who sometimes came in and asked for Coors Light and Redbull side by side,” explains Standridge. “It was popular but disgusting
- and kind of irresponsible of me to give people the energy to carry out their buzzed inhibitions.” Before graduating from Siebel, Standridge never seemed 100% satisfi ed with his brews. So he mortgaged his house to pay the tuition and embarked on the four-month Siebel World Brewing Academy International Diploma in Brewing Technology course in August through December of 2008. He’s quick to share that this experience ranks as the greatest of his life.
Standridge explains, “Making beer is a great experiment. I’m a huge fan of the scientifi c method - fi nding out what works and what doesn’t. Being a brewer is the best job in the world, and my Siebel degree gives me the deep skill and knowledge to brew the best beer possible. The Siebel instructors were amazing fi gureheads and brewing industry specialists that taught me so much.” Standridge recalls that the language challenges on the international Siebel course were Formidable. “I remember being impressed by Germans speaking English to teach portions of the course to Japanese participants. The experience truly opened me up to the different cultures and brewing traditions of participants from other countries.” The Siebel experience proved the most extensive and attainable certifi cation allowing Standridge to expand the brewing culture in Columbus, bring new equipment and approaches and be able to educate others. “I feel like I can now move customers toward being lovers of craft beer,” says Standridge. “Many people in Columbus know nothing but standard domestic lagers, and Cannon provides one of the few opportunities here to sample a variety of beer styles.” “I had the most brewing experience of anyone in the initial Siebel course, but now I know so much more about malt analysis, water chemistry, yeast and sanitation,” remarks Standridge.
“It’s so valuable for a brewer to know the science behind brewing. Everything is clear and in focus for me now, and I’d love to do some instructing in the future. I want to help show people in the Southeast that beer doesn’t have to be trivial - I want to bring home some of the rich brewing culture of Europe.” Standridge looks forward to continuing his Siebel coursework later this year with eight more weeks in the Master Brewer Certifi cation Program. This intense, hands-on course takes place in Munich and guides students through all aspects of beer from grain to glass.
Standridge marvels as to how he never loses fascination with the science and art of making beer. “To me, brewing is like a blank canvas expression - taking something from scratch and creating something of beauty,” he says. “It’s like painting or sculpture - manipulating elements to become something else - and that something else is often a mirror into yourself, refl ecting what’s going on with your mind and your taste buds.”
Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Hometown+Brew+Master/362727/35448/article.html.